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Gallery Hours: Come Roaming, Works by Holly Murkerson & Kaylee Wyant

July 2 - August 8 | Comfort Station

Closing Reception is Saturday August 3rd, 5:00-8:00pm

As co-directors of ADDS DONNA, the Chicago-based artist-run gallery, Holly Murkerson and Kaylee Wyant have long considered the exhibition space an extension of their individual practices. Their shared fascination with exhibition design — how proximities and display mechanisms affect the ultimate perception of individual artworks — has played out on multiple occasions, in their collaborative curatorial work as well as in each of their personal practices, by integrating backdrops, framing, and furniture with singular art objects.

In Come Roaming, Murkerson and Wyant activate, and then complicate the innate act of looking. Through a choreographed installation of their individual works and a collaborative sculpture that encourages myriad sight lines and body positions, they aim to amplify the movement of bodies and vision through the exhibition space. 

Multiple dualities are at play in this exhibition- interior and exterior, subject and object, figure and ground, abstraction and representation. Murkerson and Wyant’s individual works explore these relationships, as do the two sites of collaboration. The large screen in the front window unfolds and invites simultaneous looking and penetration; the cut-outs in the screen’s panels working both as windows and as points of entry. One may cast their view outward, using the cutout as a framing device, or, alternatively, revert their attention inward, toward their own body, by inserting arms, legs, ears, noses through the various portals. Moving farther into the space, one moves further inward; the adjacent darkened room with its covered walls directs vision as touch, inside the feeling body. 

Conversely, the static flat plane of the painting or photograph marks a boundary beyond which a viewer is only permitted to see so far. Murkerson’s body spreads and contorts over light-sensitive paper in the darkroom. Where limbs and torso eclipse the surface, a space is left open where an image may be held; body and image cohabitate and oscillate between figure and ground. In Wyant’s paintings, ambiguous forms writhe and unfold within a collapsed space. Would-be volumes are constrained by the boundaries of drawn lines and shallow perspective, as if fixed in the process of some transformative contortions. Within these still works, a kind of visual gymnastics is performed where identity is dislodged.   

Within the movement between surface and space, the visible and the withheld, an awareness unfolds that brings one back to the body; its blind spots and its limits sliding up against consciousness.